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The Sea Wolf

Chapter 25
"You've been on deck, Mr. Van Weyden," Wolf Larsen said, the following morning at the
breakfast-table, "How do things look?"
"Clear enough," I answered, glancing at the sunshine which streamed down the open
companion-way. "Fair westerly breeze, with a promise of stiffening, if Louis predicts
correctly."
He nodded his head in a pleased way. "Any signs of fog?"
"Thick banks in the north and north-west."
He nodded his head again, evincing even greater satisfaction than before.
"What of the Macedonia?"
"Not sighted," I answered.
I could have sworn his face fell at the intelligence, but why he should be disappointed I
could not conceive.
I was soon to learn. "Smoke ho!" came the hail from on deck, and his face brightened.
"Good!" he exclaimed, and left the table at once to go on deck and into the steerage,
where the hunters were taking the first breakfast of their exile.
Maud Brewster and I scarcely touched the food before us, gazing, instead, in silent
anxiety at each other, and listening to Wolf Larsen's voice, which easily penetrated the
cabin through the intervening bulkhead. He spoke at length, and his conclusion was
greeted with a wild roar of cheers. The bulkhead was too thick for us to hear what he
said; but whatever it was it affected the hunters strongly, for the cheering was followed
by loud exclamations and shouts of joy.
From the sounds on deck I knew that the sailors had been routed out and were preparing
to lower the boats. Maud Brewster accompanied me on deck, but I left her at the break of
the poop, where she might watch the scene and not be in it. The sailors must have learned
whatever project was on hand, and the vim and snap they put into their work attested
their enthusiasm. The hunters came trooping on deck with shot-guns and ammunition-
boxes, and, most unusual, their rifles. The latter were rarely taken in the boats, for a seal
shot at long range with a rifle invariably sank before a boat could reach it. But each
hunter this day had his rifle and a large supply of cartridges. I noticed they grinned with
satisfaction whenever they looked at the Macedonia's smoke, which was rising higher and
higher as she approached from the west.
 
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